"Wood, stone, water, fire, air: the universe distilled into a harmonic equation. Inside is outside, boundaries are doorways... A breath of fresh air equals the wind. One woman's death equals all life..."
These are the words two young designers wrote as they described their vision for Madama Butterfly.
Russell Cohen and Peter England looked at Japan through Pinkerton's eyes, striving to capture the wonder and beauty that sparked a young US sailor's desire. "Our ambition was to convey this sense of discovery and exotica," they said. "When Pinkerton enters, he and the audience must be thrilled by this 'new world'."
The pair turned to Japanese traditions to create this world of beauty and passion.
Costumes of brilliant colour and fabrics that move sensuously, billowing in the performer's wake come from the traditions of Kabuki Theatre. From Noh Theatre, the striking spare wooden platforms and timber bridges, a floating world about a moat of water. From the traditions of Zen Buddhism, a commitment to restrained simplicity and a respect for the elements.
There are moments of breathtaking beauty in their use of wood, the movement of gossamer silks and the combination of water and flame. The Japan that Pinkerton sees is an ethereal, exotic world — fragile and beautiful, like the innocent Butterfly that he so desires.
After wowing us as Tosca last year, Alexia Voulgaridou returns as Butterfly, immediately before performing the role in London.
Rejected by her past, forgotten by the man she loves, Butterfly clings to the promise of honour, just beyond the horizon.
Watch the trailer
Madama Butterfly at Arts Centre Melbourne in 2012
Listen to 'Un bel di, vedremo' from Madama Butterfly
|Set & Costume Designers|
|Lighting Designer||Robert Bryan|
|Rehearsal & Movement Director||Matthew Barclay|
|Cio-Cio-San||Alexia Voulgaridou (until 22 Feb)
|Kate Pinkerton||Jane Ede|
|The Bonze||Jud Arthur|
Running time: approximately 2 hours & 45 minutes, including one 20-minute interval.
Performed in Italian with English surtitles.